Pre Eclampsia

What is Pre-Eclampsia? 

Pre-eclampsia is a hypertensive disorder. It is characterised by persistent high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy (usually from 20 weeks) or postpartum period (up to 6 weeks postpartum). 

With careful management, most pregnancies with pre-eclampsia will have good outcomes, but complications include problems with the growth of the baby, kidney and liver damage. 

Key Stats 

  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HPD) affects 5-10% all pregnancies worldwide. This includes pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, low platelets) and gestational hypertension. 
  • HPDs are the leading cause of maternal and infant death across the globe. 
  • Approximately 76,000 women and 500,000 babies die each year worldwide from pre-eclampsia. 
  • Black women are 3x more likely to develop pre-eclampsia and have severe outcomes. 
  • 60% of maternal deaths due to pre-eclampsia are preventable. 


  • Severe headaches 
  • Welling in hands and face 
  • Visual issues 
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Stomach or abdomen pain 
  • Sudden weight gain 
  • Shortness of breath 


Pre-eclampsia can develop from 20 weeks of pregnancy and up to 6 weeks after childbirth. High blood pressure can usually be controlled by antihypertensive medication. The risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnancy can be reduced by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  

Please note that all these may help decrease rates of pre-eclampsia but should be consulted with a healthcare professional prior to action. 

What We Offer? 

Our Consultant Obstetrician, Mr Daniel Stott, specialises in the management of pregnancies affected by pre-eclampsia. He helps provide mothers with post-natal care and can address any concerns mothers have during or post pregnancy. Learn more about out Private Obstetric Services on the dedicated page

He also runs a pre-eclampsia clinic at his NHS post at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Mr Stott has published an MD on haemodynamics in hypertensive pregnancies at King’s College London and has published widely in pre-eclampsia. 


We want to do our part in raising awareness and supportive ongoing research to #MoveResearchForward. Let’s work together to help prevent pre-eclampsia and improve outcomes for mothers and babies worldwide. 

If you require any more information on pre-eclampsia, please check out the Pre-Eclampsia Foundation

Meet The Team

As we are a small, close-knit team you will become accustomed to seeing a few familiar faces whenever you enter the clinic, so here’s a bit more about us.

Dr Ushakov is our Founder and Medical Director. A leading expert in the field, with over 30 years’ experience in Fetal Medicine, working in three different countries. Dr Ushakov is most likely the reason you have booked your appointment with us and his patient, individual approach to each and every scan will provide you with calming reassurance.

Alcinda is our clinical assistant and her kind, calm nature will put you instantly at ease throughout your appointment. Alcinda is also trained in phlebotomy so you may also experience her excellent bedside manner during your NIPT blood test.

If you have an email or telephone enquiry you will most likely speak to our medical secretary, Ella. She is on hand to answer any questions you may have throughout your time with us. You may recognise her from the warm welcome you receive when you first enter the clinic.

How big is the Embryo at 8 weeks?

Most pregnancy apps will make you aware of the size comparison of your baby against a fruit/ vegetable/ animal or even baked goods, but rarely do you see images showing just how your baby would fit into the palm of your hand!

Take a look at this image which shows you the real size of your baby at 8 weeks!

At 8 weeks Dr Ushakov will be able to check for the heartbeat, date the pregnancy, check for single/multiple pregnancies. He will also check the structures of the pregnancy at this stage including the gestational sac, yolk sac and placenta.

During the Viability scan you will find out the estimated due date (Which will give you plenty of time to pack up that hospital bag and plan out your babymoon)!

If you are interested in having the viability scan at City Ultrasound, you can book our scans or give us a call on 02036872939 for more information

Clinic Video Tour

City Ultrasound is a pregnancy care centre based in the City of London in close proximity to Spitalfields Market. We specialise in the early diagnosis of congenital anomalies, and have more than 30 years of expertise in fetal medicine. Our clinic is equiped with the latest ultrasound equipment with the latest 3D/4D technology to produce outstanding quality of imaging for diagnostic purposes.

Our clinic has been recently refurbished to provide a relaxing environment for our patients who come in for early pregnancy reassurance. Watch this short Video Tour introducing our clinic and our staff!

Spina Bifida

Some media coverage of UCLH Spina Bifida unit on the BBC. Dr Fred Ushakov is a proud member of this clinic screening dozens of Spina Bifida cases a year from all over the UK. At City Ultrasound we screen for Spina Bifida from 10 weeks of pregnancy in our first trimester anomaly scan, also known as the Early Fetal Scan.

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect affecting the development of the spine and spinal cord of the baby. The neural tube is an embryonic structure that ends up forming the baby’s brain and spinal cord. There are three types of Spina Bifida; occulta, meningocele and myelomeningocele. Occulta (Latin for ‘hidden’) is the mildest form of Spina Bifida with symptoms including a hairy patch on the back or a dark spot on the back.

Myelomeningocele is the most severe anomaly and is commonly referred to as ‘open Spina Bifida’. The spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the back and exposing the baby’s tissues and nerves and forming a sac. Open Spina Bifida is associated with many other medical issues and is potentially life threatening for the baby. Some of the common complications associated with this type are: walking problems, orthopaedic issues, bowel issues, latex allergy, dermatological problems and accumulation of fluid in the brain.

According to the FMF, at 12 weeks the prevalence of Open Spina Bifida is 1 in 1,000 fetuses. In reality we believe that the condition is less prevalent in the UK but is still one of the most common neural tube defects. At City Ultrasound we screen for Spina Bifida from 10 weeks in our Early Fetal Scan.

Some of the risk factors for Spina Bifida include; folate deficiency (read our blog post on the Folic Acid), genetic history if neural tube defects, diabetes, certain medications and obesity.

Choosing Your Scan

Choosing Your Scan ?

It can feel a difficult decision knowing when to book in for your ultrasound scans, but truth be told there is no right or wrong time. Whether you are seeking general reassurance, a comprehensive check of your baby’s structures or an NIPT we have scans to suit your individual needs. Your baby is developing at such a pace and week by week there is visible growth. We offer scans for each and every stage of your baby’s development so you can feel assured at every step of the way.
For the best diagnostic performance, we have created a comprehensive breakdown of our scanning options and the prime time to have them done:

?6-9 weeks – Viability Scan

?10-16 weeks – Early Fetal Scan

?20-23 weeks – Anomaly Scan

?28- 34 weeks – Baby development Scan

?36-40 weeks – Baby Position Scan

?8-40 weeks – Scan Upon Request

To find out more details regarding the above scans please check out our website which has a breakdown of everything included in each scan.

Fred Ushakov – Teaching

One of Dr Fred Ushakov’s passions is teaching and training other professionals in the field of Fetal Medicine and the applications of ultrasound screening. Prior to the pandemic Fred lectured in countries such as the US, Australia, Italy, Sweden, Peru, Egypt, Romania, Ukraine and China, where the picture below was taken. Fred has also collaborated with GE Healthcare in live masterclass demonstrations in their Brussels HQ.

During the pandemic, Dr Ushakov was one of the pioneers to start broadcasting his lectures online. His lectures are mainly focused around his field of interest of early anomaly detection and the Early Fetal Scan. In the past year alone, over a thousand ultrasound professionals have attended his courses online.

Happy Easter From City Ultrasound!

City Ultrasound London is wishing you a very Happy Easter!

This is a tiny present from us, enjoy this 4D scan image of a fetus at 12w + 3d when it’s 5.4cm long in its little egg- the amniotic sac.

Video Player

8 Week Scan in 3D

3D at 8 weeks?! ???

We always like to test the capabilities of the latest ultrasound tech. This is a real 3D image of an embryo at just 8 weeks when it is typically just 3/4 of an inch long (just short of 2cm – the size of a raspberry.)

By 8 weeks the embryo will already have tiny hands and feet as well as distinguishable fingers and toes. The respiratory system is also starting to develop at this stage and the heart is beating at a rapid rate of 150-170 beats per minute to help facilitate the exponential growth of the embryo early in the pregnancy.

The baby’s structures are too small at 8 weeks to be able to properly examine them using ultrasound. NIPT (Harmony Test) is also not reliable at this stage due to the small fetal fraction in the mother’s blood – you will have to wait until at least 10 weeks.

That’s why at 6-9 weeks we recommend coming in for a Viability Scan:

  •  Confirm the baby’s heartbeat
  •  Date the pregnancy
  •  Check for single/multiple pregnancy
  •  Check main structures of the gestational sac, which include the baby (the embryo), the yolk sac, and the future placenta


Incredible shot of the Cerebellum at just 11 weeks in our recent instagram post!

This fetus is just 4cm long, but our advanced transvaginal probes are able to get this high resolution image of the cerebellum. Latin for ‘little brain’, the cerebellum is an important structure at the back of the human skull. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating our voluntary movements, as well as motor skills, balance, coordination and posture.

It consists of two major structures namely the Cerebellar cortex and Cerebellar nuclei. Despite only being 10% of the human brain, the ‘little brain’ contains up to 80% of the brain’s neurons, mainly in the cortex. Neurons are important cells in the human body that are the building blocks of the nervous system.

You can see why it is important to check the development of the brain. Dr Fred Ushakov is a specialist in neurosonography and conducts a comprehensive examination of the brain with every scan from 11 weeks until the 3rd trimester.

London Pregnancy Clinic

36 Spital Square

London E1 6DY
United Kingdom

Clinic Hours

Monday – Friday



Public Transport

Elizabeth, Central, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines to Liverpool Street or Northern line to Moorgate.

Overground at Shoreditch High Street. All stations within 5-10 minutes' walk.


We are within the Congestion Charge Zone (just!) with a few pay-and-display parking spaces in front of the building. 

Parking available in Shoreditch which is just outside the Congestion Charge Zone.

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